Is January a bad month for business? It’s what many small businesses think: they are struggling in January because they simply don’t know what to do to boost sales after the frenzy of Q4. The good news is that there are many ways to increase sales in the new year without annoying, spamming, or alienating potential customers.
The secret way to increase sales: build trust
One thing that many brands don’t understand about selling online is that the TRUST factor must be there. At all times.
You can google “how to increase sales” and get thousands of ideas. But if you don’t have a strategy built in your marketing to connect with your audience, your efforts are not going to pan out in long-term success.
It’s harder to build that trust when you don’t have a 1:1 interaction when you can read their body language, ask follow-up questions, watch them have their AHA moment. So, it’s important to first focus on building trust when marketing your small business.
And one of the best ways to build trust is by showing your customers that you know what they are going through in relation to the problem you aim to solve.
This is a long term process that involves:
knowing your audience and researching your audience’s interests, triggers, and desires (customer avatar)
leading with a focus for massive value to your customers before you deliver a sales pitch
always being aware of the context of your sales pitch
finding ways to connect with your audience over “similar” interests and events – this helps them relate to your brand
staying in constant communication with your new customers, existing customers, and even prospects through surveys, customer service interviews, feedback
understanding your audience’s problem awareness
It’s not enough for your marketing campaigns to simply give discounts and tell people to buy. You need to connect with your audience first, before you ask them to trust you with their money, time and focus.
The easiest way to increase sales with your email marketing campaigns in January is this:
Find the themes everyone is talking about, choose what matters to your audience, and write your emails with that in mind.
This allows you to:
enter the conversation they might already be having in their minds
connect over an event or situation that they already have some awareness of
help your audience connect the dots between something they are experiencing now because of not having solved their problems
create a natural journey that walks your audience through several awareness stages that prepares them for a product or service pitch
The most important thing is to know exactly what your audience thinks and experiences in January.
That’s key to writing emails that not only convert, but help you connect and build trust with your audience.
To find these things you can:
Ask your audience
Send a poll to your audience via email or social and ask what’s important for them in January
Go to Google and ask a question like “how to start the new year right” or search for “problem audience January”
So, here are some big themes you can use in your email marketing campaigns for the month of January
The big idea here is understanding how your audience perceives resolutions.
Do they do it, do they hate it?
What kind of resolutions do they set?
How often are they failing?
What do they fear about not meeting their resolutions?
What are they doing each day to live up to their resolutions?
Are these realistic?
Or are they setting themselves up for failure?
Remember it will be specific to your audience.
For instance, if you are a fitness coach, the resolutions will usually be about getting fit and losing weight. So, make your emails very specific and valuable. How can you help them to meet their goals this year? Start by providing massive free value then link to your solution. And that applies to every industry.
If you’re a marketing coach your audience will probably need help with setting up goals for the year. Help them make that goal manageable, show them some of your secrets. Help them steer away from failure.
If you’re in self-help, depending on your niche, a good topic here would be to break down the pressure people put on themselves to live up to some high standard of “perfection”. Talk about what resolutions mean, help them figure out what are some resolutions that actually mean something to them personally, and not to the society as a whole.
Blue Monday is the name given to a day in January said by a UK travel company, Sky Travel, to be the most depressing day of the year. It would be the third Monday of each year.
Whether it’s actually true or not, there is an emotional turmoil happening with most audiences around this time of the year.
Reality hits and they suddenly discover that living up to those resolutions is actually difficult.
And there’s more. After the Christmas holiday everything cools down, people have to get back to work and in the rhythm of “normal” life with all its regular triggers.
Nothing magically happened overnight, so they’re still the same person, living the same life, having the same problems and the same aspirations.
Help them overcome this milestone. Teach them your best tip to overcome feelings of failure, self-doubt, and simply to keep up the progress they might have made until now.
The clean slate
The new year is perceived as a clean slate. Everyone is hoping for the better, a big change. Anything is possible at this point.
Which is a great moment for your brand to show them what could be possible and realistic at the same time.
The clean slate energy is a massive driver of decisions but at the same time, it’s very short-lived.
Remember how I said the new year is seen as a clean slate? Well, maybe this will finally be the year, your audience will get out of debt. Or maybe they will have enough saved to quit their job. Or launch a business. Or if it’s a small business, to hire out a marketing agency, move beyond the solopreneur status, find more customers, or sell more.
Savings, revenue projections, setting budgets, eliminating expenses, planning ahead for a future that is… unpredictable. Help your audience know what it is they can control in their finances so they can be set for the future.
This taps into that clean slate energy. A new year is a new opportunity to improve aspects of your life, and being more productive is a big one, especially for CEOs, entrepreneurs, managers, and busy people in general (parents are also part of this category).
Not everyone will make productivity a priority, which is why it’s important to research your audience and see if this is something they’d want to focus on.
Thinking about the future is a basic human experience. Every day our brain thinks of the future: what’s for dinner, what should I wear tomorrow, will that prospect answer my phone, will this email campaign sell better than the other one up to things like I wonder if I’ll ever get married, find success, lose those 30 pounds, be a good mom, change apartments and so on.
Some people will think of the future with dread, others with anticipation and optimism. It’s your opportunity to guide them.
Something very important to understand: most people are afraid of uncertainty and the future is filled with uncertainty and unmet expectations. Help your audience make the future less overwhelming by teaching them how to set clear, realistic expectations.
The holidays are always about a lot of food and not a lot of exercise. Add to that the clean slate energy and a lot of people will be looking for ways to cleanse, whether it’s cleaning their homes, dropping a few kilos, changing some unhealthy habits, or even developing a new perspective in life, January is a great time to talk about cleanses.
Challenges would work very well in the first two weeks of the year, but remember to make them easy to achieve by setting challenge goals that almost everyone can hit.
Bonus tip: national holidays, birthdays and historical events are great ways to justify promo emails that increase your sales
This is especially useful if you’re an e-commerce business and are just looking for a good excuse to run a flash sale on your products.
Each month has a number of national holidays that you can use to “justify” sending an email. It can be a story, a listicle, or simply an email promotion. But it serves the purpose of connecting to your prospects and existing customers in the context of their everyday life.
Plus other brands are probably using those same national holidays or traditions, which means that your audience’s awareness is already higher than usual, allowing you to sort of “piggyback” on the trend.
Before I go on, remember that these days need to be specific to your audience. Otherwise it just beats the purpose.
A great way to figure out what your audience cares about is to check social media for what’s trending. Contextual marketing is a big thing on these communication channels.
Here are some examples:
Jan 1st – the anniversary of when BBC began broadcasting
Jan 2nd – New Moon
Jan 4th – World Braille Day or National Trivia Day or National Spaghetti Day
Jan 5th – National Bird Day or National Keto Day
Jan 5th – Birthdays: Bradley Cooper, Marilyn Manson
Jan 6th, 1907 – Italian educator Maria Montessori (pictured) opened her first school and day-care centre for working-class children in Rome, employing the philosophy of education that now bears her name.
Jan 7th – Birthdays: Nicolas Cage, Katie Couric
Jan 8th – Earth’s Rotation Day
Jan 10th – National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
Jan 12th – National Take the Stairs Day or National Curried Chicken Day
Jan 12th, 1967 – Seventy-three-year-old psychology professor James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved with the intent of future resuscitation.
Jan 14th – Cesarean Section Day
Jan 14th – Birthdays: Dave Grohl Emily Watson
Jan 14th – Mercury retrograde begins
Jan 15th – National Bagel Day
Jan 17th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan 17th – Birthdays: Jim Carrey
Jan 17th – 1st full moon of the year
Jan 20th – Get To Know Your Customer Day
Jan 24th -National Compliment Day or Data Privacy Week
Jan 31 – Grammy Awards Day